Artificial Waves Could Take Surfing To The Olympics

by Amy in News

The erratic nature of the ocean has held surfing back from the Olympics, but technological advancements could soon change that.

There are now wave generators and artificial beaches all around the world and, with some adaptations, this technology can simulate the perfect surfing conditions for training and competition on an international scale.

Man-made waves are already used in water parks and some initial designs and projects focused on surfing show a lot of promise for the sport. North Wales’ Surf Snowdonia and Bristol’s The Wave, for example, are both planning to open during the (European) summer of 2015.

bristol wave garden

Surf Snowdonia says their artificial surfing lagoon – which generates powerful and consistent surfing waves of heights up to 6 feet in a 300m long lagoon – has “fired the imagination of the World’s surfers”.

“It is ideal for all surfers, from grommets (beginners both young and old) to professional surfers, and will be a fantastic family destination,” the website says.

“Surf Snowdonia will also play host to events, competitions and surf demos, giving the public access to the World’s top surfers.”

But the UK is not the only place set to put “perfect” surf locations on the map: countries investing in this technology include United Arab Emirates, Spain, Hawaii, Morocco, Portugal, Russia, China and Australia.

Locally, there are five sites already planned for development, with the Gold Coast one of the biggest supporters so far and Webber Wave Pools at the fore of this technology in Australia.

According to local government and authorities at this Queensland destination, man-made surfing spots could also be a solution to “surf rage” issues.

The International Surfing Association (ISA), however, has its eyes set on bigger and better opportunities for the sport.

“Presently, diverse stakeholders around the world are friendly to the possibility of surfing’s inclusion in the Summer Olympic Games,” ISA president Fernando Aguerre says in a statement about where the sport is heading.

He says the campaign for surfing to be included in the Olympics “will most likely involve the development of wave parks with suitable man-made waves”.

“Several man-made wave surf parks have been in operation for years, but recent technological improvements have raised the bar, and we now have an unprecedented ability for producing high-quality performance waves.”

Campaigning to include a new sport in the Olympics is an involved process and a lot of boxes beyond “perfect, controllable surfing conditions” need to be ticked before we can watch the top surfers compete on this world stage.

But as artificial waves and surf parks start to launch all around the world, surfing at the Olympics is moving from a mere possibility to a more likely reality in the near future.

Featured Image: sossurf.com.au